Friday, September 05, 2008

In The Desert

It had to happen.

Things have been going so well since I arrived here in Palm Springs. Finally, disaster struck. I'm still shaken by the experience.

There I was, sitting out behind Koffi on a perfect hot August day, peaceably enjoying my mocha freeze, when I drank my mocha freeze too quickly and got one of those sharp pains in my forehead. So you see, living here in Palm Springs is not without its challenges.

And even though you find a great apartment on your first day of looking and within five days you've signed a lease and moved in, and even though you're coming off a great first week of classes at College of the Desert--my California Building Code instructor is way hot, and even though you discover that there's a Starbucks within walking distance of your apartment, and even though ditto for one of the two leather bars in town, and even though you take these great day trips to Disney and up the mountains to Idylwild, life is full of surprises and it can just rise right up like a rattler and bite you in the form of an unexpected brain freeze from your drink out behind Koffi.

Seriously though, things have just been going great. The list goes on and on, and would probably be tedious to read. Among significant developments is the discovery that I can get to the aforementioned leather bar, the Tool Shed, by going out the back gate of my complex, down this really seedy back alley that has all kinds of potential, and be there in about three minutes.

And, because it's walking distance, for the first time in over a decade, I got totally drunk the other night. I rarely have more than a beer when I'm driving, and usually stick to Red Bull or water, but since I can walk to a leather bar, I decided to kick back and gratefully accept the shots that were bought for me when I was there. And I even had a second beer. Lightweight that I am, I was totally buzzing after that. But then, as Shot Number Three was being poured, I heard a little alarm bell go off in my head, one I don't think I've heard since I was in college (the last time), that tells me that if I have one more sip of alcohol, things are going to get really unpleasant. That night almost resulted in an episode of Drogging While Blunk, but it didn't. When I got home I opted for bed instead.

And I'm anxiously looking forward to next Friday, when the North American Van Lines truck pulls up outside the front gates and disgorges all my worldly goods into my new apartment. Or "bungalow," as I prefer to think of it. After that, there will be no prying me out of my desert home.

And, I think I got full credit on my first Spanish quiz. ¡Buenos Dias! Me llama Drew. ¿Cómo se llama usted? Totally got that down.

I'm excited about my other classes, too, which include Technical Drafting I ("the pencil is a tool of communication, and I hope to teach you how to express yourself fully with it"), the California Building Code, Intro. to Construction Management, and on Monday I'll get a taste of History of Architecture and Intro. to the Architectural Professions. And I've also signed up with the Architecture Club. Mostly it involves visiting local architecturally significant buildings such as the Kaplan House, Disney Concert Hall, and the Getty Villa and such. And, they spend the year raising money and after classes end in June, go spend a week doing archi-tourism somewhere with all the money raised.

And gosh, I've been spending time with this guy whom we'll call Cowboy. He does home remodeling here in the Coachella Valley and might have some work for me. And oh man, does he look good in his boots and Wranglers.

And I've had some fascinating conversations with some of the men I've met here. I spoke tentatively about the feeling I had of being called here, how strange it is that I feel so at home in the desert, to a couple of guys I was talking to at the Tool Shed. They did their best to conceal the looks that crept across their faces which told me that they had heard that before. Then that means you belong here, one of them offered. One of them said that there were two kinds of people who come to Palm Springs. During the season, they come from all over to enjoy our mild weather. The bars are packed. It's like the circus is in town every weekend. But many confuse the circus for the town itself and move here expecting it to be a party that never ends. But they don't stay. But there are others who come here because something calls to them, and after they hear the call, there's no other place that they can be.

It's a mystical place. In the middle of the desert, and oasis. We sit on top of an enormous aquifer. The Coachella Valley is the only place in the entire state of California that doesn't have to bring in water from somewhere else. Surrounded by the San Jacinto mountains to the South and West and by the San Bernardino mountains to the North and East. An incredible place.

And it's my home.


Cranberry Juice Guy said...

YEA Drew! I have been checking your blog daily for updates and when they were not forthcoming I began to become concerned. (I am a worrier by nature.) I am so glad things are going well!

Anonymous said...

Hi.. i just stumbled onto Your site while surfin. i was raised here in the desert, then left for a long time, then moved back about 7 years ago. i hope to move to the Cochilla Valley next year. i'd love to be in pics and videos like You were describing. i'm gonna bookmark Your site so i don't lose it. my 'short-term-memory' ain't what it used to be. Lol